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Dr M: The ‘favourite’ is above the law

 | June 5, 2012

In his latest salvo, the former premier says if an individual is favoured by the foreign powers, then any action against him is seen as an act of oppression.

PETALING JAYA: Refusing to let the Bersih 3.0 rally rest, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose 22-year tenure never witnessed such large-scale exhibitions of dissent, fired another salvo.

This time, the doctor plunged his scalpel into the inequality of the law when it concerned those who were favoured by foreign powers to spearhead a regime change.

In an obvious reference to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, he pointed out that government action against these individuals would be frowned upon.

“You can do what you like and any governmental action against you would be labelled as uncalled for oppression.

“If an election is near and the favourite is going to be a candidate and bring about regime change, then government action against this privileged person would be regarded as attempts to undermine his chances of overthrowing the government,” he said.

“That the favourite purposely timed his violence just when elections are near would be ignored and that the provocation of the police was deliberate and meant to elicit ‘police brutality’ would also be ignored.

“That the police were beaten up, that police cars had their windshields smashed and the police car was overturned in full view of TV cameras – all these are inconsequential,” he added.

The main thing, said Mahathir in his trademark sarcasm, was that the action against the favoured opposition would be deemed political rather than an exercise in legal equality.

These quarters, he added, would clamour for the police to be charged instead.

“Actions by the police to enforce the law must not be allowed. These must be regarded as criminal acts. But blatant criminal acts by opposition leaders must be regarded as permissible. In law they must be considered as privileged people,” he said.

Therefore, Mahathir concluded that there was no equality before the law and on the contrary, there was blatant inequality favouring some, especially the aspirants for regime change.

One of the recurring allegations against the former premier was that under him, the judiciary had been castrated and cases against his so-called cronies often never made it to the courts and if they did, were thrown out.

‘A nonsense we believe in’

In his latest posting, Mahathir also stated that equality before the law was “one of the nonsense that we believe in.”

“Of course this is one of the great fictions that democracy is said to uphold. But then democracy itself is often not even democratic. The people, the ordinary citizens never really govern themselves. But that is another story.

“Now, about equality before the law that democracy is said to uphold. It is not upheld at all. Some people are actually above the law and some are far below it i.e. they don’t really get the benefit or the protection of the law,” he added.

Since the complainant and defendant were not conversant with the law, Mahathir said, they hired lawyers to argue on their behalf.

“Now some lawyers are clever and smart but some may just be plain stupid. But both cost money. The smarter lawyers would naturally cost much more than the not-so-good ones.

“Some lawyers have great reputations. In fact some might even be great politicians. Some of these political lawyers could be frightening to the judges,” he added.

The result of the inequality of representation by brilliant and fearsome lawyers on one hand and the ordinary run-of-the-mill lawyers on the other, was mostly likely a victory for the former.

“The rights and wrongs of the case are of little consequence. Effectively, the law almost always favours the rich and not the poor.

“There is clearly no equality before the law. Get a good expensive lawyer and you can get away with murder. Get a bad cheap lawyer and you may be hanged for someone else’s murder,” he added.

According to Mahathir, international law was no better.

He said that a leader of a powerful country could massacre a few millions and in return a statue would be erected in his honour.

“If you lead a poor and weak country and you act against violence by the opposition, then you might be accused of oppression and tolerating police brutality.

“The opposition, when they are clever enough to promise a variety of freedoms, could do no wrong even when they use violence to provoke the police into so-called acts of brutality,” he added.

Mahathir was among those who claimed that the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally was designed to topple the government through violent means, a charge which the organisers and opposition denied.

He had also defended the police over its actions, which some described as excessive force, during the rally.


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